London-based architecture firm Tonkin Liu recently revealed their competition-winning designs for the Cradle Towers in Zhengzhou, China. Centered on a large green space, this collection of five mixed-use towers is designed with a swooping sculptural form to mimic the nearby Songshan mountains. This urban “mountainscape” will be partly covered in greenery and feature a responsive skin to control solar shading and maximize energy efficiency.
Located in a city regarded as China’s cradle of civilization, the 434,000-square-meter Cradle Towers pay homage to the city’s ancient past with its nature-inspired form and simultaneously looks to the future with its contemporary design. The five tapered towers will be built at different heights atop a podium. The towers surround a central park with a large man-made lake that will double as an ice skating rink in the winter.
The mixed-use buildings will comprise offices, apartments, and a hotel. The podium base will contain retail and leisure open to the public. The fritted glass facade will feature a responsive skin that changes to minimize solar heat gain. The facade has a subtle color gradation and transitions from dark at the podium base to light at the tops of the building, “establishing the podium as a heavy mass and blending the lantern-like tips of the towers with the sky,” write the architects. Each building will be topped by a landscaped rooftop.